Month on the Mat: July

In this monthly recurring series, the residents of Wrestle Inn will offer you their recommendation for a single match you should seek out from the last month. We might not always highlight the “best” match; perhaps we’ll pick a hidden gem instead, or a match that you may not have heard of from a promotion different to what you usually watch. But, we can guarantee that all of these picks will be more than worth your time!

Kay Quinn recommends:
Dragon Dia vs Don Fuji, Hopeful Gate 2022 Day 3 (Dragongate, July 7)
A “Hair vs Skateboard Match”, with both the hair and skateboard rightfully belonging to the same contestant and the promotion’s General Manager as the referee, sounds like a wild premise for a fun comedy encounter: and it was. But, this was also a great example of utilising a veteran to put over a new talent. Don Fuji still looked like a threat despite his age, picking his spots and getting in his hits with great efficiency, and Dia’s fast, creative style really sold him as this generation’s answer to Dragon Kid. Truly a match that represents Dragongate in its combination of sheer ridiculousness and genuinely good wrestling.

Ryan Dilbert recommends:
Miyu Yamashita vs Hyper Misao, Tokyo Princess Cup 2022 (TJPW, July 16)
A half and half pizza of a tournament match. You start off with some slices of comedy as Hyper Misao uses duct tape, cold spray, and her complete lack of shame to gain an advantage over the TJPW ace. Later you move onto more serious fare as the bout shifts from sight gags to heavy-handed strikes. It’s the best of both worlds with the killer and the clown on the same stage. This is definitely more comfort food than gourmet, but a fun match with clear stakes.  

Alex Morrison recommends:
Bryan Danielson vs Daniel Garcia
, Fight for the Fallen (AEW, July 27)
Not exactly a hidden gem, but this was easily my match of the month – another instance of younger talent being put over in a big way! A story of Danielson returning too early from his concussion while Garcia was fresh and sharp, having spent the last few months testing himself against the best. After a bump, Danielson began very believably selling that he was out of sorts; even buckling from a whip into the ropes. This story continued throughout the match and was crucial in the climax. This match was pure storytelling and probably the best selling of an injury during a return match I’ve ever seen. It’s a must watch!

Credit: AEW

CiaranRH recommends:
Tama Tonga vs Tomohiro Ishii, G1 Climax 32 Day 7 (NJPW, July 27)
The G1 season is upon us which can only mean that Mr G1 Climax Tomohiro Ishii is visiting homes all around the world delivering brainbusters…metaphorically speaking, your children are safe (for now). A sign of a great match in the current clap crowd era of Japan is how many times you can force the crowd to make noise, when they are simply incapable of keeping their mouths closed and a roar escapes, and that is the case constantly throughout this fiery encounter. I personally don’t rate matches, but this is 5 stars for me. The most invested I’ve been in a G1 Climax match yet, Tama Tonga is making his merit as a singles star known. Who had Tama taking a shoot headbutt on their 2022 wrestling bingo card?!

Thumbly Squeezed recommends:
FTR vs The Briscoes, 2-out-of-3 Falls, Death Before Dishonor (Ring of Honor, July 23)
My love for all things FTR is well-known, and I wrote up this same match from Supercard Of Honor in a prior month. That said, that first match was my match of the year so far – how would they live up to it? By having it three freaking times over. Ok, it wasn’t quite that long, but the psychology of each fall was brilliantly executed. The Briscoes taking the first one, putting FTR into desperation mode, FTR pulling a win back, and then bah gawd everyone let go of all inhibitions for the final fall. There are plenty of strong style matches highlighted by my colleagues here. I challenge any of those matches to hit as hard as just the final portion of this one did. An hour that flies by, grips you, and never lets go. 

Trent Breward recommends:
AZM vs Tam Nakano vs Koguma vs Momo Watanabe, STARDOM in Showcase Vol. 1 (STARDOM, July 23)
STARDOM in Showcase is what happens when Rossy Ogawa stares into the abyss and it starts staring back. On a night full of gimmick matches, a simple Falls Count Anywhere match might not register too high, especially when the concept can feel underutilised. NOT THIS TIME! The four stars utilise the entirety of the arena space, punctuated by the conveniently placed bouncy castle and giant two story slide. Mid-match costume swaps, lunch breaks and bonkers action fill this match, ending in a homage to the Shane McMahon/Kurt Angle King of The Ring Street Fight. This match is ludicrous in the best possible way and you can see how much fun they’re all having. 


Steve Howard recommends:
Rey Fenix vs Taurus vs Laredo Kid vs Bandido, Ric Flair’s Last Match (Jim Crockett Promotions, July 31)
The mark of a great match is when a non-wrestling fan watching alongside you gets fully invested. It happened the night before with the Brock Lesnar and Roman Reigns tractor incident and it happened again during this unique show. The match had a frenetic pace and dives with more twists than a good detective novel. All four were amazing, but the size and power of Taurus added something different to the match and his interactions with Bandido were a highlight of this match of the year candidate.

JJohnson recommends:
Taichi vs SANADA, G1 Climax 32 Day 5 (NJPW, July 24)
Every year many matches get lost in the G1 shuffle. Perhaps my favourite (dare I say the best, outside of ZSJ’s terrific tanglings with KENTA and Tanahashi) is this special match between Taichi and SANADA. I loved a SANADA match – someone check my pulse! They wrestled a story of call-backs to their shared yet different All Japan pasts, with each one an attempt to outdo the previous. Taichi stretched beyond this already engaging narrative, trying to get the upper hand by smartly targeting SANADA’s already injured eye. It’s that attention to detail that I adore. It might be a messy G1 this year, with a daft structure and a laundry list of skippable matches, but it’s matches like this that punctuate a G1. You need the match of the year contenders too, though the overshadowed gems are perhaps just as integral.

Corey Michaels recommends:
RUSH vs Dragon Lee, Death Before Dishonor (Ring of Honor, July 24)
I did not know too much about RUSH or Dragon Lee heading into this match. Perfect way to introduce something fresh – jumping right into something new. As RUSH currently stands as a villain, he set that aside as he and his brother went to war, but such familial love can waver so long. Love can be deceptive and cruel, and as RUSH lay in feigning agony, Lee checked up on his opossum of a brother until a hurricane of strikes sends him to the pits below. Great match, and great first impression, love it!